Speculative approaches do work…a second year’s story

If there’s a company or organisation you’re interested in working for but they don’t advertise placement years is there anything you can do? Amy Chetwynd, BA (Hons) Advertising and Brand Management, explains how making a speculative approach got her the position of her dreams and why she thinks employers value you targeting them.

second year student, Amy Chetwynd

Hello, I am Amy and I am currently in my second year of University studying Advertising and Brand Management.

Formal introduction over, now let’s talk about internships! Got a favourite agency, company or brand? Ever thought about applying to them for your one day a week placement or placement year? I did, and it was the best decision I made.

Just because a company doesn’t say they offer internships or placements does not mean that with the right candidate they wouldn’t say yes. You could be the first person they offer one to! When you have a passion for something, you tend to be able to express how you feel with ease; this will shine through in your cover letter. Let the company know why you love them, or admire them or want to work for them. Show them you are determined to work hard and that this company is perfect for you. Tell them how you can aid their work!

I am currently on a one day a week, Agency Life, internship at Red C Marketing in the accounts team doing varied roles; my main focus is shadowing a student on her placement year. Red C had never taken on a one day a week intern so it was new and exciting for both sides. Working somewhere I had sought out meant that the company knew I really wanted to learn and develop my knowledge and gave me the chance to learn new skills and get an all-round understanding of working in an agency.

Amy Chetwynd blogMy tasks are varied week to week as agency life is so fast paced, most of the projects I have worked on the week before, have been completed the following week. I have worked on a lot of different accounts, researching various markets and products, learnt and understood the process of how a brief becomes an advert, gained invaluable skills heat mapping and organising job folders. In addition to this I have learnt the process of briefing a creative, written a blog post (in addition to this one) and learnt a great deal of other invaluable information. All this in just 3 months!

This internship has allowed me to gain the knowledge of what an agency is like, and only further excites me for my placement year.  “An entire year of learning new skills and developing current ones” – sounds perfect to me. I have spent most of my life saying “I can’t wait to work”, I have never been a “read a textbook” girl, I am a “go out and do it” girl; I learn through doing and then read the text book to back up what I learnt practically (reading is prevalent throughout University, as you well know).  Agency Life is a great chance to learn by doing which is something University lacks in some ways; practical learning can truly aid understanding.

If you’re like me and you are excited to work and you enjoy being challenged, Agency Life or a placement year is right for you! The experience and understanding you gain is invaluable and so important to gain for future applications and job prospects.  And don’t be put off contacting a company just because they don’t advertise placements, if you want to work for them show them just how much you want to work there.

If you’re still unsure, ask yourself this: “How do I know I will truly enjoy the job I want if I have never actually tried to do it?”

Agency Life and placement years offer a great way to check you are actually on the right career path; you do actually love what you do. If you don’t, do not worry! There are hundreds of paths to follow on all courses so just try, because that is all you can do.

As a brilliant man (W.E. Hickson) once said “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again!”


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